EU nationals in the UK - Where is 'Home'?

“Brexit feels like a rejection of what is different, and the indifference of a vast proportion of the population suggests their complicity.”

Simon (England and Spain)

Home is a difficult concept for me as it has always moved. Madrid has always been my home as it is the only place I have consistently returned to and felt like I belonged and was accepted. In the UK I have always felt like an outsider, even though I was born in the UK, lived here for 20 years on and off and hold UK nationality since birth. My mother is Spanish and my father is from the UK.
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I grew up in Croydon, and whilst part of me considers it home, it is also an inhospitable dormitory town which I would hesitate to call my home when I compare it to Madrid. I have never felt of London as home, but rather as a distant and exorbitantly priced dream which is both exhilarating and stressful to visit or work in. I currently live in Nottingham, purely for work reasons. Whilst I like the town, it can only ever be a temporary home for me.
The referendum result has done nothing but drive this home to me. When I returned to the UK from Spain at age 13 I was bullied as the Spanish kid, even though I was English, looked English and spoke fluent English. And yet, I was different. My difference has never been a positive thing to society in general, only to a few who appreciate difference, who are not blinkered.

To me, Brexit feels like that all over again, a rejection of what is different, and the indifference of a vast proportion of the population to the increasingly xenophobic and fascist actions of this government suggest their complicity.

I may yet have to live in the UK for many years, but it feels like it will never be my home because it will never make me feel safe.

Gabriela (Romania)

I suppose that for me ‘home’ means that place where you always know that you can return to and feel safe and happy. The place where you feel most comfortable to put roots down, but also make plans for the future without fear.

It’s also about the people around you and the opportunities you have. It’s about feeling that you are valued and that you make a difference in other people’s lives. All in all, it’s that one place where you feel complete, but it doesn’t have to be linked to one geographical location for the rest of your life. ‘Home’ is a mutable reality.
After Brexit the concept itself hasn’t changed, but what has changed is my perception of the UK as a potential home. Brexit happened at a time in my life when I felt I was finally settling down, and changed everything. These days, the country feels more like a place of transit mainly because of all the uncertainty surrounding us EU nationals.
Even though quite a few people around me tell me that I shouldn’t worry because I’m one of the ‘good immigrants’, somehow it doesn’t really make me feel any better. I suppose it’s more a matter of principle than my actual situation here. I am not sure I feel entirely comfortable with the idea that I would always be tolerated, but never integrated.

EU nationals in the UK - Where is 'home'?

"How can one even begin to think of a place as home if it actively points a finger at you?"

Amaya (Germany and Spain)

The concept of home has always felt a little different to me in comparison to other people’s perception of it.

I have been brought up in a family where my mother is German and my father is Spanish. I’ve always been able to move to different places and create a safe space wherever I landed.

Home to me is the place where I can unpack my bags, where you’re given the time to create a social circle, where you are given the space to develop personally and emotionally, where you have the ability to weave a fabric strong enough to act as a security net.
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Home is a feeling and not a flag or a national anthem. Let us not confuse home with nationalism or patriotism. Home is liberation from that. It is a freedom to express fully who you are without judgement on where your passport was issued and the appearance of your skin or the alien accent in your verbal English. My home is Europe with the good and the bad.
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The Brexit Phenomenon is comparable to having a rug beneath my feet being yanked out and falling flat on your face - a cruel joke.

It feels as though the years spent studying and working in this country have meant nothing to both government and the people that voted Brexit under the flawed assumption that there is a hurricane of migrants coming to this country with the intent to abuse of the benefit system – pandering to a stereotype emphasized not only by the Leave campaign but also by the sensationalist tabloids.

I’ve been reduced to a statistical figure used to sell an image of scrounging immigrants and a causal factor to the strain on public services.
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How can one even begin to think of a place as home if it actively points a finger at you - scapegoating you for the failings of an austere government that has failed in its duty to provide for all, especially the most marginalized and the poor?

The notion and image of home that was beginning to take formation has been torn to bits. I am a European. I am Europe and that is what I call home: unity, dialogue, cohesion, understanding, looking forward as a team and a relinquishing of the ego are what I associate to ‘home’.

Anette 'At Home'

To me ‘home’ is not a specific geographical place nor is it static. It is more a space in which I feel safe, protected, accepted as the person I am and in which I can be myself without fear of being rejected, where I am surrounded by people I care about and who care about me. It is a place where I choose to be because I feel happy, comforted and secure there. A group or society of which I am a part, which shapes me and I shape it. This place can be anywhere in the world and is not restricted to a certain area or country.
I moved to the UK because I wanted to be close to the person I love and who happens to be British. When I first came here I felt very much at home: happy because I was with my partner; accepted as the person I am by the neighbours, and people in our market town talked to me as an individual with a name and a face and judged me only by my actions and my behaviour; safe and protected as no one questioned my right to be here. My legal status was secure, I blended in and felt accepted for who I am. A lot of this has changed since the EU referendum.
Before the referendum it was noticeable that most people only repeated the slogans and mean spirited opinions which were expressed on the front pages of the tabloids and by politicians. What shocked me most was that hardly anyone seemed to question the lies and accusations that were made. But these slogans were obviously so powerful that no fact or argument could change the prejudices and no sensible debate was possible, no matter how hard I tried.

”Even people who were close to me all of a sudden felt that there are too many immigrants in the UK and that “we have to take back control”. But, of course, “it’s nothing personal, we don’t mean you”.
The result of the referendum did not come as a surprise to me but yet it felt like a kick in the teeth - and it still does. Theresa May’s speech at the Tory conference was shocking, and her infamous dictum “A citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere” is the complete opposite of my philosophy of life and my conviction that you can make pretty much any place in the world your home - if others let you.

”Even if my rights were secured I don’t think I will ever again feel as untroubled in this country as I did before the referendum. The fact that the government even considers taking rights away from us EU citizens retrospectively leaves me speechless. I don’t think that I can forget easily that we are being used as pawns instead of being treated as human beings who came here in good faith and have done nothing wrong.
There is a lot of talk about us but not with us. When I go out I don’t feel like I am seen as an individual with a face and a name any more, but reduced to the label “immigrant”. We are seen as commodities and get judged exclusively by our economic usefulness for the UK.

”I have been disappointed by the attitudes of people in my town and even of some people close to me. The space in which I feel protected and accepted has shrunk significantly. Whilst I am still happy and comfortable with my partner and in our house I am now worried about my future and find myself being wary, sceptical and suspicious towards other people.

”I feel rejected, no longer welcome and as alienated from this country as never before. A bit homeless really.

Anna 'At Home'

In the months I spent photographing EU nationals and listening to their stories the common theme that emerged was that for a migrant the concept of home is rarely static.

When we decide to move away and leave behind the comfort and security of our country of birth – our original home – we begin to construct another identity for ourselves. An identity in which resilience and adaptability become the essential building blocks, but that can’t be forged successfully without a strong sense of belonging.

The Brexit vote has shaken that sense of belonging for many of us, and has made us really question, perhaps for the first time, our place in the world. Do we belong in this country? If not, where is “home”?

For me ‘home’ means something quite different from the common perception of what a home is. I don’t see it as something physical but as something emotional. ‘Home’ is wherever your heart is, wherever your soul can grow, wherever your goals and aspirations can be realised.
Through the years I have learnt that I have the potential to feel ‘at home’ wherever I am. We cling too much to the material, to the here and now, when we should try to look beyond that and explore the endless possibilities out there.

I came to this country in good faith and made it my physical home. I learnt the language and adapted to their culture because I felt it was the right thing to do, just as I would expect from someone wanting to move to Spain. If Brexit ends up meaning that I am not allowed to stay then I have no problem leaving, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about it.
To me Brexit is just a political strategy, a way to rearrange the fabric of society and control people at will based on lies and false promises. But that’s politics in general. It’s a real shame that they are not focusing more on the human aspect of the situation.

Theresa May famously said “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” but I don’t agree with that. We are all part of something bigger than the place in which we happen to be born. The world is our home and instead of trying to fence people in we should consider ourselves lucky that we get to experience it through free movement.


I recently caught up with Amaya after meeting her for the first time back in October 2016. We took a walk around her local University campus and chatted about the importance of belonging, a future full of hope and possibilities and her renewed enthusiasm for and commitment to the European project.

I think the initial impact [of Brexit] has gone down but the sentiments, the hurt feelings are a lot more predominant. My emotions are still as high as they were before, but I would say that now my spirit of Europeanism has grown a lot more. Before, I was shocked and angered, and had a sort of ‘deer caught in the headlights’ feeling, now I just feel sadness and a need to search for something that I can anchor myself to - and that’s the European project.
Brexit has made Europe realise what we don’t want to be. There is this sense of awakening and it has pushed us Europeans into something new, we have transformed Brexit into something positive for us, and that has created a sense of dynamism, enthusiasm and strength. I think that will be an impetus to job creation, to new ideas, and to a vision of commonality between all the countries within the European Union that transcends borders. It is a good thing for us and I want to be part of that positivity.

I feel that I would be more welcomed and accepted with my ideas in Europe than I would here. A lot of energy would be needed on my part if I stayed here, but I don’t know to which end. I don’t see a positive outcome for Brexit, so I would rather direct that energy into something that I know does have a good outcome, a positive realisation, and that is the European entity. It’s on the boom, the younger generations are getting involved in Europe and I want to be participant in that movement rather than fighting something that the British people have voted for.
[On ‘settled status’ for EU nationals in the UK] It’s very vague, there is no permanency in that word. I think it’s something that will buy the Government time and to get people on board, but there is no long term vision of what happens later on. I think it‘s a good terminology they’ve used because it gives them leeway to change things later.

The ‘settled status’ idea is to keep the 3million EU nationals in the UK semi-content for now, and later on the Government might crack down on visas and on entry, they might even introduce quotas at a later date. I don’t feel reassured at all by this Government, right now my trust lies with the European Institutions.
[On the upsurge of hate incidents after the referendum] I think it’s definitely still there and I have experienced it myself.

On the day that marked the 60 years of the Treaty of Rome I was travelling on a bus and took a call in a foreign language. This person came inside and, upon hearing my conversation, said something along the lines of ‘It’s great that we are finally out’.

I confronted him and asked him to tell me what exactly he didn’t like about the European Union. He said it was their policies, so I asked him which policies, to name one he didn’t agree with. Then he said he didn’t want to be controlled, so I asked him in which way he felt controlled. I wanted to talk to him about it, to have an actual conversation but he just started shouting and getting very aggressive.

It was really uncomfortable and I felt quite vulnerable. Nobody came in my defence, I was totally on my own. That makes them complicit in that sort of behaviour, it makes them part of the problem. If that’s what British society is I don’t want anything to do with it.


I recently caught up with Anette again on a freezing cold January morning after meeting her for the first time in February 2017. We took a stroll around her favourite nature reserve and talked about a possible future in Germany for her and her British partner whilst searching for the elusive bittern bird in the reeds at the water's edge.

Over a year on, and we still don’t know any more than on the day after the referendum, it’s up and down all the time. On good days I can just laugh about it and think ‘this is all so unreal, and so ridiculous’. But in some way it has got worse because the longer we face this uncertainty the more it is taking its toll on me mentally.
I like to be in charge of my own destiny. But now I am dependent on other people’s decisions. That is why I find ‘the3million’ so important, at least they give us a voice as no one listens to us, no one talks to us. All the papers are full with stories about us: who we apparently are, and what we apparently do, but no one is talking to us and showcasing our perspective. We are side-lined and we can only watch and wait and see what other people decide is going to happen with us.
(On British friends and neighbours) I get the feeling that for many of them the whole subject is a bit embarrassing and they don’t really like to talk about it. I hear ‘you’ll be fine’ a lot, but I’m not sure what makes them think that.

On the whole, people mainly try to ignore Brexit. I think deep inside they know that it has the potential to go horribly wrong but they want to avoid an awkward or difficult conversation. Here in the UK not so nice stuff gets brushed under the carpet quite often and people just pretend it’s not there instead of facing the problems. I am disappointed by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in our fate.
Moving to Germany with my (British) partner at some point in the future is definitely still on the cards. We are both struggling with the whole situation here.

We considered going back to commuting, me living in Germany and him staying here, like we used to do for several years after we first met, but then we remember how strenuous, costly and time-consuming that was. And we don’t even know if it will still be possible in the same way after Brexit, we might need visas and all sorts of other requirements that make commuting between the UK and an EU country even more unattractive.

But I also like my life here, with my partner, our house, our garden, our cats... I don’t want to give all that up. But the time might come when there’s just no other way, either because they force us legally or because they make our lives so miserable here that we give up and pack our bags. None of us really knows what the future might bring.


It was a pleasure to catch up with Anna – and her adorable dog Angel - again after meeting them in August 2016. We took a stroll in her favourite park to chat about Brexit, Catalonian independence and why you should look after your toys properly. Anna's optimism and energy are infectious and probably the reason why she is riding the post-Brexit wave more successfully than most.

One year on I’m still not worried about Brexit and remain optimistic about the future. To me it’s important that the decision was taken in a democratic way. If I compare it to the situation in Catalonia, for example, at least the British were allowed to have a say in a matter that was important to them, which didn’t happen in Catalonia. You have to respect that, irrespective of whether you like the result or not.
The way forward now, in my opinion, is communication and mutual respect between British people and EU nationals - but it has to work both ways. There are a lot of people who come into this country and don’t make any effort to adapt to the culture or the way of life. Some British people have to learn to be more tolerant and accepting towards immigration, it’s true, but by the same token there has to be a willingness to integrate into the community from those coming to live in the country.
I think there is a lot of manipulation in the information that we get [on the possible state of the economy post-Brexit], both from mainstream media and the Government itself. Most of the time we don’t actually get facts, just opinions or worst-case scenarios, which causes a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. We should now work together as a society to improve things whenever we can and, as individuals, we should strive to be resilient and adapt to the new situation that Brexit will bring.
[On the rise of nationalism] Extremes are always a bad idea, but I can perhaps understand why some people here in the UK have this strong patriotic feeling. I compare it to a child having a toy he loves and has to share. He is overly cautious and wants to make sure that other children don’t damage it. I think this is perhaps how some British people feel on the subject of immigration. On the other hand, too many times we [immigrants] get tarred with the same brush. It’s true that there are some people who come here and don’t bother to learn the language or contribute to society, but the immense majority of us do – we definitely look after the toy properly.


After meeting Michele in October 2016, it was a pleasure to catch up with her again in her beautiful London "home from home". Always candid, outspoken and good fun, we chatted about colourful socks, the Empire and how young people are our only hope.

I can’t say that my life has changed very much on a day to day basis, I haven’t had any bad experiences or people being nasty to me. I really haven’t had that kind of negative experience. On the contrary, people have been very supportive.
I feel a bit more relaxed, but I’m still angry. For me [Brexit] it’s an aberration on the same level as the Trump election. I blame the education system for not making young people aware of political choices. I think the way forward is with the kids, we need to encourage diversity in schools and give foreign languages a prominent place again. Send young people abroad on exchange programmes and make them travel a bit. Specially, invest in education.
I think building bridges is going to be hard. Some British people have an island mentality and many of them still consider themselves as part of the Empire, they are still a bit back in time compared to the rest of Europe. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing, but there’s definitely a kind of attitude, they think they’ll be fine without Europe because other countries like India are going to help them out, but they are not.
The older generation - I mean, those of that generation who voted Brexit - I really think they are a lost cause. I don’t think you can change their minds. The way forward now is the kids, young people, the Millenials and younger.


After meeting Simona in November 2016, I recently caught up with her again to see how life has changed a year on from the Brexit vote. Now based in north London, we met up at her local park to talk about trees, diversity and the post-referendum hangover.

I used to read the press and worry a lot about Brexit, now that has faded quite a bit. I still follow the news but it doesn’t affect me anymore. I guess it’s because the whole process is so long and monotonous. Nothing has really changed, so there’s still a big question mark in my mind when I think about what it might mean for people like me.
I see myself here long term. Back then there was a part of me that was worried about things getting worse and feeling unwelcome, but that hasn’t happened. I have created a life for myself here, I have many friends and I am building up my career. I am not wiling to lose all that. In fact, Brexit has made me want to stay in this country even more, I am determined to keep what I have gained so far and prove that I am a viable person with a lot to offer.
My partner and I discovered this tree with some friends who live in the area. I come here often on my own as well. The tree is so reassuring, so welcoming, so positive, it makes me feel really safe and protected. It means a lot to us, it’s somewhere we can go to reflect and to ask for the things that we want in life. We actually literally asked the tree to be allowed to stay in this country, it was an instinctive thing to do. We also come to give thanks for the good things that have happened to us. We both come here often for many reasons.
British people around me are very supportive, they are against the idea of division and for the idea of union and inclusion. I think diversity is important for the sake of local communities, and there is a real need for dialogue. I have been listening more to people who are pro-Brexit to find out their reasons and exchange experiences, to try to have an understanding. Now more than ever it is essential for people to come together and keep the lines of communication open.


My initial reaction [to the referendum result] was quite raw and quite strong. I remember saying to my husband ‘That’s it. I’m officially not welcome in this country.’

Gabriela comes from Romania. She met Tim - and Englishman and her now husband - in the Czech Republic in 2012 when they were both working for the same company. After a couple of years they decided to move away from the Czech Republic as the language barrier meant that Tim found it difficult to adapt and integrate.

At the time Gabriela would have needed a work permit to come and work in the UK, so they moved to Ireland temporarily instead. When the immigration restrictions were lifted, they both moved to the UK, where they have lived and worked since 2014. 

Gabriela is a Modern Languages graduate and has a PhD in Contemporary British Literature. She works as a team leader in the finance department of a global company dealing in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories.


To me, Brexit feels like a bad break-up and I still can’t understand why. To date I haven’t heard one single argument that convinces me that this is a good idea. Britain had very favourable terms. I think it all comes down to free movement, which personally I find insulting.

Anette comes from Germany and met her British partner while on holiday in Bali. She moved to the UK to be with him in 2011.

Her background is in Sociology and Politics but in Germany she worked as a travel editor for the online version of a German national newspaper. Anette continued writing for German websites and magazines once in the UK.

Anette also has a keen interest in photography. She has experience photographing wildlife and nature, and has also dabbled in fine art photography. She would like to develop this further in the future and establish herself as a photographer.


I am a very open person. This country is beautiful and the people over here are beautiful. I have learnt so much and I feel like no matter what’s happening if people unite we can all just live here happily. If I ever feel like I wan to leave I’ll leave, but not because of Brexit.

Rimante arrived in the UK from Lithuania in 2014 looking to further her education and find better opportunities for herself. She studied Multimedia at her local University for two years and then completed a course on alternative therapies.

For the last nine months she has worked for the buying department of a builders' merchant and home improvement retailer, a role she has found exciting and challenging and that has allowed her to develop and learn new skills.


I was at work when the result of the referendum was announced and I wasn’t expecting it at all. The difference was very slim, just 2%, and this poses a big problem because to honour what half of the population want you are going to have to upset and disregard the other half.

Ramon came to the UK from the Catalonia region of Spain in 2003 after qualifying as a flight attendant.

For the first year he worked in a fast food chain in order to settle into the country and improve his English. In 2004 he went back to Spain to undergo the selection process for a flight attendant position with a major airline. Ramon was successful and stayed in Spain for a month to receive his training. 

After completing this, he returned to the UK and started working at London airports. He was soon promoted to a more senior role and moved to a Midlands regional airport, where he currently works.


Begoña came to the UK from the Asturias region of Spain 12 years ago to improve her command of English.

She worked as a waitress whilst perfecting the language and, thanks to her background in Economics and her knowledge of Spanish and English, was soon able to find a position in the international finance sector.  

Her plan was to use this experience to build up her CV and return to Spain with a better chance of finding a job there. However, she soon met the man she would eventually marry, decided to stay in the country, and gave birth to a daughter four years ago.

Begoña has worked for the same company, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, for the past 11 years, first on a customer service role for the Spanish market and now in a management position within the Finance department of one of the company's major brands.

I was surprised when l learnt the result of the referendum, neither of us were expecting it. We couldn’t believe it.

At first I felt rejected, the society I have known for years has always been respectful and inclusive, and that appeared to have changed overnight. Later on I felt a lot of uncertainty, both for me and for my English friends who live in Europe, you begin to realise that this is going to affect a lot of people.
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I get the feeling that the UK was never fully involved in the EU, their heart just wasn’t in it. I think the result was partly due to do with lack of employment. When there is an economic recession people start thinking that others are taking their jobs away from them, when in fact a lot of immigrants who come here do the jobs that no one else wants to do.
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I have a young daughter and I am worried for her, she was born in England but she has both her Dad’s and my surname [as is the Spanish tradition]. I’m worried about how people might perceive her because of that, and because she has a Spanish Mum, I worry that perhaps she won’t fit in when she is older.

The other day we asked her whether she felt English or Spanish. She wouldn’t say at first but this morning she proudly declared “I am English, Mummy!”. I can’t help but worry though, as a parent you worry about a lot of things.
The whole situation is a roller-coaster of emotions. You are OK for a while and getting on with your life and then something comes up in the news and suddenly things become very real and the worry and anxiety start all over again.

For a very long time I have felt that this is my home, but things have changed, I don’t feel that way anymore, I could leave tomorrow.


Yvonne came to the UK from Germany in 2010 to study Economics as part of the Erasmus exchange programme.

After completing her studies in the UK she went back to Germany to finish her degree and then returned to the UK to take up an internship working for a start-up company as a sporting and social events organiser for international students.

She then took up a position with the British Medical Association in London as an events organiser for a period of four years. After meeting her current partner, they both moved to a different part of the country, where he had been offered a place to study Medicine.

Since 2015 Yvonne has been working for a builders' merchant and home improvement retailer in the international sales department. Unsure about what the situation in this country will be in the coming years, Yvonne is hoping to train as a teacher and move to Spain with her partner in the future.

When I read the news I laughed, it was so unexpected, I just couldn’t believe it. Some of the people at my work were really happy, they didn’t seem to understand how I was feeling.

One of my British colleagues told me that it was their choice who they allowed into the country, that it was up to them and that I had to accept that.

Us Europeans bring a lot of money into the company, yet no one talked us to reassure us that we were still welcome, or asked if we were alright. I was shocked and upset.
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I think the EU is there for a good reason, specially in times like these when we have problems with terrorism on one side and then Trump and Russia on the other. The EU is really important and if you look around in England there are a lot of EU projects going on, so I don’t know where the rejection comes from.
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When I arrived in London I was really surprised to see so many foreign people on the bus, but then I thought “Well, actually, this is England”, it’s so international. It was really nice to be in such an open and inclusive country, you don’t have that kind of integration in many other European countries.

I think the whole immigration issue is just a tool of distraction to deflect from the country’s own issues regarding cuts and privatisation. It’s so transparent, I am surprised some people can’t see it.


Jadwiga came to the UK from Poland in 2010. She soon found employment as a warehouse worker, which she combined with a part-time teaching position at a Polish school.

She then worked for a leading international infrastructure company as an office administrator, and later on in the probation sector as part of a learning and development team, coordinating training for probation officers.

Jadwiga is currently working as a personal development coordinator for an organisation that helps individuals struggling with homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental health problems. She is also keen to explore her creative side and is furthering her skills as a photographer, hoping that one day she will be able to combine her passion for helping people with her passion for photography.

Brexit was like a slap in the face, it was so surreal I didn’t really believe it. I sensed the effects overnight, the situation totally flipped. It’s as if before people had to respect you but now they have invisible permission to victimise you. It’s awful.
My friend works closely with the Polish community and regularly comes across stories about how they are being victimised, not just by some people in this country but by other nationalities as well. Things like not being served well at stores, cashiers being unpleasant to them, things like that. It doesn’t exactly make you feel welcome.

I am very worried that this wave of hate will continue and that it will get worse when we actually leave the EU. I will affect innocent people who work hard, and that is really unfair.
I am trying not to worry about things I have no control over, and I feel pretty secure here because of my job and my house. Also, on a positive note, the day after the referendum my manager went out and bought all Polish workers flowers to show his appreciation and that we are welcome. That was amazing, and this is what I hold on to, more than the prejudice that might be out there.


Simona moved to the UK from Italy in 2009. She holds a Diploma in Business and International Studies, however, after taking cello lessons in her hometown she realised that her true calling was pursuing a career in music.

She worked in a pub for a few years, joined a folk band and immersed herself in the local music scene, collaborating with musicians and singer-songwriters and performing with orchestras in a wide variety of festivals across the country.

In 2014 she received a scholarship to purchase a new musical instrument and enrolled to study a BA in Music Performance in one of the country's leading conservatoires. After completing her studies, Simona would like to carry on working in the music industry, either in a performing or teaching role.

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I cried when I found out about the result of the referendum, for me it was a sign of regression more than progression. I think the idea of controlling people’s movement between countries is quite unnatural and unnecessary. Sometimes we forget how much we are all part of the same land and I actually do really admire people who are brave enough to start a new live in a different cultural surrounding.
I love the idea of multiculturalism and having the diversity of many different communities. I don’t think Brexit will seriously threaten that. Even if life in the UK is going to be slightly more difficult for Europeans from now on, multiculturalism is still too strong for Brexit to actually stop it or harm it in a serious way.

I don’t think it would be in the best interests of this country to lose so many workers and students, as these people coming along make many different contributions that need to be taken into account as well.
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I have friends who supported Leave and their reasons were more financial than related to immigration. They are hoping for a beneficial change to come from Brexit and, even though I personally can’t see the advantages of such a choice, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Irrespective of how people voted, I think we have to see past our differences and try to work together somehow. I’d like to believe that things will work out for everyone and in the less divisible way possible.


Amaya grew up in a German-Spanish household. Originally from La Paz, she was adopted by a German mother and a Spanish father and lived in various countries throughout her childhood.

She moved to the UK in 2006 to start a Degree in Economics and, after completing her studies, spent the following year and a half doing volunteering work with refugees and local organisations helping the most vulnerable in society.

She then moved to the Netherlands for a year to study European politics at postgraduate level. However, Amaya found the country unwelcoming and struggled to fit in, so she decided to return to England and shortly after found a job at the Citizens Advice Bureau, where she still works today.

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To me it [the referendum result] was traumatic, like a car crash. You don’t experience the full range of emotions right away, they come later, like a delayed reaction. I am now more involved in politics, I want to know what the Opposition are doing, I travel to London regularly to attend conferences and events. There are many of us in this situation, we have to get organised and take action to highlight the contribution we make to this country.
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I think the Remain camp didn’t do a good job explaining the many benefits of being in the EU. They didn’t include us EU nationals in their narrative during the campaign either. Where were the first hand accounts of people like myself who have lived here for years? Of EU nationals who have started their businesses here and are generating employment and revenue for this country?
The day after the referendum I felt like a guest who had overstayed their welcome. Some of my European friends feel anxious about speaking in English with an accent, they are worried about giving themselves away as foreign. This isn’t a feeling that’s just going to go away, like flicking a switch, it is traumatic and it will take years.


Alzbeta came to the UK in 2014 from Slovakia to pursue her passion for music. She applied to University in the UK and was accepted into a BA in Music (Jazz) course, which she will complete in May 2017.

With no previous training in jazz music, Alzbeta came to the UK not knowing what to expect. Here she found a welcoming multicultural community and a thriving jazz music scene, where she regularly performs. She regards her decision to move to this country as the best decision she has made in her life.

After completing her Degree, Alzbeta would like to continue her studies in Music and is currently applying to Masters Programmes both here and in other European countries. However, she is open-minded about her future and is also considering taking a gap year to explore another one of her passions – studying to become a Yoga instructor in India.

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I think some British people are not aware of what’s happening in the East or in other parts of Europe. They don’t understand what these people [Eastern European immigrants] are going through, why they move to this country and why they choose to stay here.

For Slovakians it is mainly to do with our Government being corrupt. The middle class is diminishing, the lower class is getting bigger and you have 1% of the population owning pretty much everything.

My own family has been affected by the situation. My mother has two Masters Degrees, she is a lawyer and an engineer, and she can’t find a job in my country.
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I would love to feel accepted and be a part of British society. I don’t want to be looked upon as a foreign person who shouldn’t be here, or who is exploiting the system. There are people out there who are much worse for society, and they don’t come from Eastern Europe.